Well-traveled priest Fr. Gerard Cupple remembered for humor, personability

Fr. Gerard "Gerry" Cupple passed away on Dec. 28, 2023, at the age of 68 and was laid to rest following his funeral Mass at St. Joseph Church on Friday, Jan 5. (Detroit Catholic archives)

IDA An avid traveler who made it to all 50 U.S. states in his lifetime, Fr. Gerard "Gerry" Cupple will be remembered as a kind priest and friend who particularly excelled at connecting with youth.

Fr. Cupple passed away on Dec. 28, 2023, at the age of 68.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Fr. Cupple was born on April 29, 1955. He attended St. Mary's College in Orchard Lake, and decided to stay in southeast Michigan for seminary, where he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit on June 22, 1985.

At the time of his death, Fr. Cupple was serving as a member of the In Solidum team of priests serving the Three Rivers Family of Parishes, alongside Fr. Jim Rafferty and Fr. Mike Woroniewicz, which includes Divine Grace Parish, Carleton; St. Gabriel Parish, Ida; and St. Mary, Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish, Rockwood. Fr. Cupple served primarily at St. Gabriel Parish.

Fr. Woroniewicz said he and Fr. Cupple attended seminary together at St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth Township, and were ordained the same year. They have maintained a close friendship over the years.

“We will miss his sense of humor, and we will miss his presence," Fr. Woroniewicz told Detroit Catholic. "Right now, his parishioners at St. Gabriel's are grieving the loss of their sitting pastor. We don't know what lies ahead, but in the meantime Fr. Jim and I will try to take the best care of St. Gabriel's that we can.”

Throughout his well-traveled ministry, Fr. Cupple also served as pastor of St. Gabriel Parish, Ida (2017-23); St. Mary Parish, Wayne (2013-17); and St. Henry Parish, Lincoln Park (1996-2013); as well as administrator of Holy Family Parish, Inkster (2013-17); St. Richard Parish, Westland (2015-17); and St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Melvindale (2010-11). He also served as associate pastor at St. Theodore of Canterbury Parish, Westland (1991-96); Sacred Heart Parish, Dearborn (1989-91); St. Colette Parish, Livonia (1986-89); and St. Mary of Redford Parish, Detroit (1985-86).

Fr. Cupple had a gift for connecting with young people and delighted in serving in parishes with active youth groups or schools, Fr. Woroniewicz said.

"He related well with children and had a charism for relating with youth groups and even talking one to one," Fr. Woroniewicz said.

Fr. Cupple also enjoyed being involved in the larger local community, Fr. Woroniewicz added.

"He was involved with the Dundee interfaith council and he liked to go to sporting events and graduations even at the public high schools as well St. Mary Catholic Central in Monroe," Fr. Woroniewicz said.

In his spare time, Fr. Cupple liked to travel, and Fr. Woroniewicz became his travel companion early on.

"Soon after ordination, we became travel partners we’d take road trips," Fr. Woroniewicz said. "Personally, I got to see all 50 states with him by the time I was 50 years old. That was by plane, train, ship, automobile and even dogsledding."

His favorite state? Hawaii.

"We’d go to Hawaii together every February for a couple weeks," Fr. Woroniewicz added. "He loved the Hawaii culture, and it was his intention when he turned 70 to live in Hawaii and help out at a local parish."

Fr. Cupple was laid to rest following his funeral Mass at St. Joseph Church in Ida on Jan 5. He is predeceased by his parents, Dominick and Jane Cupple, and survived by his sister Felicia (James) Bishop, his brother John Cupple and his niece and nephew.


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